Star Wars was the first movie I saw in a theater as a kid, and it ruined me for anything else. At least until a mad man in a box showed up a few years later, but that’s another story. The opening sequence that introduced Princess Leia, R2-D2, C-3PO and Darth Vader blew my young mind and greatly expanded an imagination I’d need to navigate my way through country North Carolina in the 70s and 80s. Though Han Solo and Boba Fett were the favorites of everyone I knew growing up, Leia couldn’t be denied, and girl-hating boys would choose to be her over Luke because she never needed rescuing. Whereas Luke….
My biggest disappointment with The Force Awakens (and I had a few) was how it slighted Leia in favor of Han and Luke. Her often-hapless twin brother was the star of the original trilogy, but it was really Leia getting things done the entire time. She’d been instrumental in the Rebellion as a teen, was forever rescuing her rescuers and was not only key in planning the Rebellion’s strategies, she was usually in the field leading them. All without actively using the Force. Meanwhile Luke careened through the first two movies on a roller coaster of fail and couldn’t go more than three story beats without needing rescue of some sort. The fact that Leia shrugged off her Force potential as too much drama despite Yoda, Vader and the Emperor considering her to be at least Luke’s equal made her all the more interesting. So it was disappointing to see The Force Awakens treat her as General Grandma instead of a potentially powerful Force user who could’ve confronted the First Order, saved Ben, etc, while her twin brother stayed centered despite generally making a mess of it all and yet again needing her help to fix things. And while LucasFilm can certainly CGI older Leia into the current trilogy just as they did with young Leia in Rogue One, that CGI could never have Carrie Fisher’s swagger.
Rest in peace and may the Force be with you, Princess.